PlayStation Move 101

by Ryan On April - 5 - 2010

Sony’s PlayStation Move was one of the biggest reveals to come out of GDC this year. We’ve decided to take a more comprehensive look at Sony’s motion controller and put all the information we can find in one place; this is that place. Welcome.

The PlayStation Move has had an interesting journey to say the least. It has gone through more names than perhaps any gaming peripheral before it and has been the subject of much debate in the gaming community. Sony has stated that this is much more than just a Wiimote clone, but given the design and the recent reveal of the subcontroller, that’s an image that will prove hard to shake. The difference, according to Sony, is that the Move allows for true 1 to 1 movement in games. The Move is said to be much more accurate and responsive than Nintendo’s controller and this added accuracy allows for deeper and more impressive experiences. The Move works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye which tracks the glowing orb atop the Move controller. Let’s take a look at the components that will make up the PlayStation Move experience.

PlayStation Eye

The successor to the PS2′s EyeToy camera. The PlayStation Eye can capture video with frame rates of 60Hz at 640×480 or 120Hz at 320×240. It also has a built in microphone allowing it to capture sounds and be used for speaking applications. The Eye’s role in the Move set up is to track the main controller and use the video capture technology to help produce augmented reality experiences.

PlayStation Move

The main Move controller features the glowing, LED orb on top. This orb is tracked by the PlayStation Eye camera for precise motions and the distance from the camera can be calculated by how large or small the orb appears allowing additional details with regards to depth. The controller also features a PS home button, the four PlayStation face buttons and an analog trigger on the underside. It also has a large “Move” button in the center, select and start buttons on the sides and a USB port, extension port and wrist strap on the end. By utilizing different colors for the orb, the camera can track up to four Move controllers simultaneously.

PlayStation Move Subcontroller

The Subcontroller plays a role similar to that of the Wii nunchuck. It is a supplementary controller that features an analog thumbstick, a directional pad, X and O buttons and a PS home button. It also features L1 and L2 analog triggers on the underside. The Move Subcontroller will connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and according to Sony will “expand the game play options that PlayStation Move games can offer.”

The latest information we have suggests that the PS3 will be capable of tracking up to four Move controllers at once. So if you are playing a game that uses only the Move controller, you and three of your friends can play at the same time. However, if you are using the Subcontroller with the main Move controller then only two players can play simultaneously. It also appears that some games may utilize two Move controllers for a single player as shown in the video below.

Games

So far there have been quite a few games announced that will be taking advantage of the Move. The following lists were grabbed from wikipedia.

Ape Escape
Brunswick Pro Bowling
Echochrome 2
Motion Fighter
Move Party
Planet Minigolf
Sing and Draw
SOCOM 4
Slider
Sports Champions
The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest
Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’11
The Shoot
Tower
Toy Story 3
TV Superstars
Under Seige

Then there are some existing games which may be patched to include Move support.

EyePet
Flower
Heavy Rain
High Velocity Bowling
Hustle Kings
LittleBigPlanet
Pain
Resident Evil 5: Alternative Edition

That’s at least a fair amount of games that will be using the technology. One of the biggest gripes from gamers is that the PlayStation Move will simply introduce hundreds of lame, gimmicky titles and the novelty of motion control will wear off rather quickly. Given that the Wii has been around for a while now, I think it is safe to say that for a lot of gamers, there simply is no more novelty to begin with. However, the listings above show some established and high quality games. Titles like LittleBigPlanet, Heavy Rain, SOCOM and Resident Evil are far cries from the casual games released on the Wii. These are games that players are familiar with and have already proven to be hits.

Then again, this is a tough spot for Sony. They want to capture some of Nintendo’s audience, but how do they accomplish this without alienating their existing customer base? Games like Move Party! and Sports Champions are precisely the types of games that PS3 owners don’t want to see. The Move game that I’m most excited about is Slider; it looks like a kooky, Japanese game that would feel right at home on the Dreamcast. You essentially race through streets on an office chair – awesome!

Pricing

Sony stated at GDC that the PlayStation Move would be hitting retail sometime this Fall and that they will be offering a bundle package that includes the Playstation Eye, Move controller and a game for less than $100. You’re actually getting quite a bit of tech for the money there, but Gizmodo put together a pretty detailed look at the potential costs involved. The question is: how many casual players will be willing to spend that much on top of the price of the PS3 to begin with? What is it about the PlayStation Move that will make a current, Wii-owning mother of two go out and spend upwards of $400 on this equipment? I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think Sony believes that will happen either. Perhaps what they are after is a PS3 owner’s family, loved ones or relatives that wouldn’t normally play games. I don’t believe the Move will sell many PS3 systems on its own, but when considered in combination with the console’s other capabilities, it may persuade a potential Wii buyer with some extra cash to go with a PS3 instead.

When speaking about the presentation at GDC, Sony’s Jack Tretton said it was “only the frosting on the cake” and that the company is “saving the batter for E3. We will absolutely bring the heat.” Impressions on the Move are somewhat mixed at this point. Many can see the potential in the technology, but so far we haven’t really been shown anything to differentiate this from what Nintendo has done with the Wii. Regardless, it sounds like Sony is set to bring out their best at E3 this year and we’re interested in seeing what they have to show.

What do you think about the PlayStation Move? Is it going to be the next big thing in gaming? A total flop? Or something in between? Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments! I would love to hear what you have to say!

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